Storms have been rocking airline operations across the United States over the last month. Several corners of the country are being seriously impacted by the weather. As a result of the conditions, Alaska airlines had to cancel over 400 flights over last the last weekend due to the snowstorm in the Pacific Northwest.
Responding to the difficulties
The snowstorm last weekend dropped more than a foot of snow at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport between Friday and Sunday. Subsequently, carriers operating at the hub were left with important decisions to make regarding their services.
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Moreover, there was an ice storm in Portland leading into the weekend, which made the problems worse for Alaska. This is because the company’s subsidiary, Horizon Air, had to reposition 14 regional jets from Portland to Seattle due to the weather. Therefore, there was limited space to de-ice the aircraft.
A troublesome few days
A spokesperson for Alaska admits that this event was not the airline’s finest hour. Altogether, it was a challenging weekend for the carrier.
The spokesperson said the following, as per The Seattle Times:
“We can’t maintain a full operation during heavy snow/ice, largely due to the added time it takes to de-ice each plane. We control what we can — our schedule…we proactively precanceled roughly 1/3 of our flights 24 hours before Saturday. Thinning our schedule 24 hours in advance and at least three to four hours before a flight departs keeps our guests safe at home, not stuck at the airport, and allows us to safely operate what flights we can.”
Nonetheless, Alaska Airlines has been promoting waivers amid the harsh weather. The airline shared the following on its website:
“To help our guests impacted by winter weather in Seattle and Portland, Alaska is making it easier to change your trip with our peace of mind waiver that waives fare differences on top of zero change/cancel fees.”
The challenges continue
The snow started to clear up in Seattle from Monday. However, conditions across the US remained tough throughout last week. USA Today reported over 2,900 canceled flights and more than 1,800 delays from various airlines on Thursday alone due to winter storms.
As the winter continues, there will likely be more cancellations across airline networks. Airline activity is already at a low amid the consequences of the global health crisis. However, carriers have to also deal with the impact of the weather during this tough period. For anyone looking to travel during the harsh climate, it’s advisable to check schedule updates and waiver terms.
Simple Flying reached out to Alaska Airlines for comment on how the snowstorm impacted its network. We will update the article with any further announcements from the airline.
What are your thoughts about how the snowstorm impacted airlines across the United States last week? Were you affected by the severe weather in any way? Let us know what you think of the situation in the comment section.